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Chris Christie 15, Fema 14, Wisconsin 12, Benghazi 12, Christie 11, Us 10, Washington 7, Sandy 7, Obama 5, America 4, Msnbc 4, Clinton 3, New Jersey 3, Barack Obama 3, Brown 3, Craig Fugate 3, Jonathan 3, Michael Brown 3, Bush 3, George W. Bush 3,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    November 1, 2012
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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come home. that's my plan to keep us strong. that's my commitment to you. and that's what's at stake in this election. now, change in the future where we reduce our deficit that's balanced and responsible. i signed a trillion dollars worth of spending cuts. i intend to do more. i'll work with both parties to streamline agencies and get rid of programs that don't work. if we're serious about the deficit, we've also got to ask the wealthiest americans to go back to tax rates they paid when bill clinton was in office because, as long as i'm president, i will never turn medicare into a voucher to pay for another millionaire's tax cuts. i will never allow the nation to be plunged into another battle over health care reform just so insurance companies can jump back into the driver's seat. and i will never allow politicians in washington to control health care choices that women should be making for themselves.
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so, wisconsin, we know what change is. we know what the future requires. we don't need a big government agenda or a small government agenda. we need a middle class agenda that rewards hard work and responsibility. we don't need a partisan agenda. we need a common sense agenda that says, when we educate a poor child, we'll a. be better off we need a vision that says we don't just look out for yourself. we look out for one another. we look out for future generations. and we meet those obligations by working together. that's the change we believe in. that's what this election's all. now, let's be clear. achieving this agenda won't be easy. it's never been easy.
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we always knew that. back in 2008, when we talked about change i told you, i wasn't just talking about changing presidents. i wasn't just talking about changing parties. i was talking about changing our politics. i ran because the voices of the american people, your voice, had been shut out of our democracy for way too long. by lobbyists and special interests and politicians who believe that compromise is somehow a dirty word. by folks who would say anything to win office and do anything to stay there. the protectors of the status quo are a powerful force in washington. and over the last four years, every time we've tried to make change, they've fought back with everything they've got. they spent millions to stop us from reforming health care and wall street and student loans. and their strategy from the start was to engineer pure gridlock in congress. refusing to compromise on ideas
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that both democrats and republicans supported in the past. what they're counting on now, wisconsin, is that the american people will be so worn down by all of the squabbling, tired of all of the dysfunction, that you'll actually reward obstruction and put people back in charge who advocate the very policies that got us into this mess. in other words, their bet is on cynicism. but, wisconsin, my bet is on you. my bet is on the decency and good sense of the american people. despite all of the resistance, despite all of the setbacks, we've won some great fights. and i've never lost sight of the vision we share that you would have a voice that there would be somebody at the table fighting every single day for middle class americans who work hard.
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sometimes republicans in congress would work with me to meet our goals, to cut taxes for small businesses and families like yours, to open new marks for american goods or finaling repeal don't ask, don't tell. sometimes we've had big fights, fights that were worth having. like when we forced banks to stop overcharging for student loans and make college more affordable for millions. like when we forced wall street to abide by the toughest rules since the 1930s. like when we stopped insurance companies from discriminating against americans with preexisting conditions, like cancer or diabetes, so that nobody in america goes bankrupt just because they get sick. i didn't fight those fights for any partisan advantage. i've shown my willingness to work with anybody of any party to move this country forward. and if you want to break the
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gridlock in congress, you'll vote for leaders, whether they are democrats, republicans, or independents who feel the same way. but if the price of peace in washington is cutting deals that will kick students off a financial aid or get rid of funding for planned parenthood or eliminate health care for millions on medicaid who are poor or elderly or disabled just to give a millionaire a tax cut, i'm not having it. that's not a deal worth having. that's not bipartisanship. that's not change. that's surrender to the same status quo that has hurt middle class families for way too long. and i'm not ready to give up on that fight. i hope you aren't either, wisconsin. i hope you aren't either. see, the folks at the very top in this country don't need another champion in washington. they'll always have a seat at the table.
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they'll always have access and influence. the people who need a champion are the americans whose letters i read late at night, the men and women i meet on the campaign trail every day. the laid off furniture worker retraining for a career at 55 in biotechnology. she she'ds a champion. the small restaurant own who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down, he needs a champion. the cooks and waiters and staff working overtime at a vegas hotel trying to save enough to buy a first home or send their kid to college, they need a champion. the autoworker who's back on the job, filled with pride and dignity because he's building a great car, he needs a champion about the young teacher doing her best in an overcrowded classroom with outdated textbooks, she needs a champion. all of those kids in inner
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cities and small farm towns in the valleys of ohio or rolling virginia hills or right here in green bay, kids dreaming of becoming scientists or doctors, engineers or entrepreneurs, diplomats or even a president, they need a champion in washington. they need a champion. they need a champion because the future will never have as many lobbyists as the past but it's the dreams of those children that will be our saving grace. and that's why i need you, wisconsin. to make sure their voices are heard. to make sure your voices are heard. we've come too far to turn back now. we've come too far to let our hearts grow faint. now's the time to keep pushing forward. to educate all of our kids and train all of our workers to create new jobs and rebuild our infrastructure to discover new sources of energy, to broaden
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opportunity to grow our middle class to restore our democracy and to make sure that no matter who you are, where you come from, how you started out, you can work to achieve your american dream. you know, in the midst of the great depression, fdr reminded the country that failure is not an american habit. and in strength of great hope, we must shoulder our common load. that's the strength we need today. that's the hope i'm asking you to share. that's the future in our sight. that's why i'm asking for your vote. and if you're willing to work with me again, and knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls for me and turn out for me, we'll win brown county again! we'll win wisconsin again! we'll win this election! and together, we'll renew those bonds and reaffirm that spirit that makes the united states of
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america the greatest nation on earth. thank you, wisconsin. get out there and vote! thank you. god bless. >> that was president obama in green bay, wisconsin speaking at his first campaign event since putting his political schedule on hold to deal with hurricane sandy. obama's traveling to las vegas and then on to colorado. governor romney, meanwhile, is in virginia today, after several days of softened language and tempered criticism. today, romney decided he was done playing mr. nice guy. >> the president's proposal in a setting like this is to continue on the same road. he -- he has the campaign slogan which is forward. i saw the signs out front. forward. i think forewarned is a better word. >> meanwhile, much of the eastern seaboard from new jersey to connecticut remains a disaster area as the cleanup continues after hurricane sandy. according to the a.p., the storm is responsible for the deaths of at least 74 people. 4.5 million residents still without power. and adding to the frustration,
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gasoline is becoming an increasingly precious commodity in some area. traffic has become so bad, in new york city, mayor michael bloomberg mandated any commuter car entering the city must have at least three people in it. president obama and governor romney's renewed campaign come as the latest polls show president obama lead big six points in eye but locked in a tight balle with romney in new hampshire and wisconsin. nearly all interviews conducted before hurricane sandy, which just might end up being the defining moment of this election. joining me today to discuss all of this and more, msnbc political analyst and national affairs editor for "new york" magazine, john heilemann. msnbc political analyst and executive editor of msnbc.com, richard wolffe. msnbc political analyst, jonathan alter of bloomberg view, and msnbc political analyst and former dnc, karen
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finney, hopefully joining us shortly. john, i go to you first. in terms of sandy being an inflection point, game changer, if you will, a term we do not toss around lightly, are we -- is it -- is it a game changer? can you prognosticate that far? do you think the president is stronger coming out of the sandy response as a candidate? >> look, there's no question that if you think about this storm and what it's done to the media environment over the course of the week, it's blackout coverage. so the president's been in that coverage. and to some extent, much driven by the storm but he's -- he's there, he's the president on screen. governor romney has been nowhere. he's just -- it's not his fault. he's just not part of this conversation. he doesn't have anything to say about it. he doesn't have a role to play. so if you're a challenger, running a presidential campaign, in the last week to essentially be blocked from the airwaves for
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five straight days it's a big problem. forget whether he had momentum or didn't. it's a huge problem for a challenger. the presidential looked presidential. the combination of that the fact he's gotten policy right, substance right, optics right, and has gotten boost that he's gotten from governor christie, which has been huge, i think, not game changer, but to whatever extent you could weigh this in out -- who knows what the effect is on tangible votes -- but in terms of what's happened over the week a good week for president obama, and a problematic week for governor romney. >> a story in politico, obama's reaction to a disaster coupled with a calculation to stop campaigning to supervise the relief effort from the oval office provided him with one thing he's needed with the first debate, opportunity to look presidential. presidential is what obama needed from sandy because a presidential image is what obama
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lost in his first debate with mitt romney. >> i think the debate made him look smaller and these events have made him look bigger. he was acting too presidential, like he didn't need to engage in that debate. it's not whether you're presidential or not. it's whether the stage is bigger in this situation, and it is. you are, as president, having to deal with real-life problems. he's taking executive action, just a small detail, when he says i've got 15-minute role and chris christie over his shoulder nodding and chuckling, yeah, he's going to kick some rear end, you know, that is -- >> that's the british way. christie would have other choices. continue on, my friend. >> the british word -- >> thank you. but you've also got an implicit contrast, right? when -- when the president has to go out and remind people about the bush era, it becomes repetitive. it dulls the ears. here he doesn't have to mention bush. it's in everyone's head.
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katrina is recalled with the im. talk about fema, people think about the bush legacy. and so, he doesn't have make those contrastic splits, never mind about mitt romney, that helps him because he's doing stuff and it's all out there without the effort. >> you get the unearned assist from michael brown coming out. >> we'll talk about brownie. >> you couldn't ask for that. you couldn't make that bet. >> but there's karen welcome. hi. >> welcome to the show. i want to say, it's not just the presidential thing. it's also -- there's incredibly moving -- let's not forget the human toll this storm's taken. >> absolutely. >> the images of the president consoling americans in the wake of this massive disaster are incredibly powerful images. and what you heard in the president, what you heard from the president on the stump just now was empathy, this sense that
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he is fighting for you, that you have a seat at the table, middle class, working class americans, that he is there for you. and that fundamentally has been a problem for mitt romney. not only do you have the president looking presidential and making the case for government and government action, you have him as incredibly sympathetic character on the national stage. >> yesterday when we saw him with governor christie, 15 minutes, people need response, action, movement, we can't wait, it can't be too long before people have power. and today talking about the middle class. yes, from the whole gambit from relief to middle class relief, i get it, i'm here, i'm with you, it's working. the other thing i was going to say it reminds people, because, yes, katrina was a disaster for bush but it reminds people of a president, president clinton. james lee wit one of the most respected people in the industry, clinton coming from a
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rural state, completely rebuilt fema, understood how important it would be in times of crisis, part of why bush is derided he saw it i'll put the horse guy in charge of it, it's in the a great deal. >> arabian. >> big difference. >> but, you know, again it doesn't hurt, you know? it's clintonesque, here's what things are clicking on all cylinders when a democrat is running them. >> the president did mention bill clinton by name in the speech. but at the end of date they're fighting for this. there's a considerable amount of back and forth over the notion of momentum. the obama campaign calling mitt romney's momentum fomentum. rush reefer yesterday from the romney came pan, i think we're in a great position to win. can we win all of them, talking about pennsylvania, michigan, can we win some of them? i think probably so. mussina on the call with reporters, six days to go, bottom line, we have the math
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and they have the myth. >> look, if the hurricane did nothing else, it slowed whatever momentum romney had. we don't know for sure that he had any, that's a batter of dispute. but if he did, it was at least stopped in the news cycle. there were several messages that came through in the last couple of days that were favorable for obama. most important is bipartisanship. everybody in the country knows it was a democratic president and a republican governor. people want to see the parties working together. this indicated, contrary to what romney's saying, obama can work across the aisle though there's no aisle in new york city. >> somebody backing him -- >> people argue for years about whether chris christie sold out romney, whatever. the point is, the images of the parties working together. the role of government, the premise of the romney campaign is that we need small government, let the private sector do it.
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he actually said in a cnn debate to john king, privatize fema. >> right. >> consider turning it over the states. imagine if the states had no backing from washington in this crisis. imagine where they would be. so that's a subtext. i also think that the whole question of infrastructure and first responders and you know these -- >> government employees. >> -- government employees dewried by the republican party in the last couple of years and this again, nas 9/11, coming to the fore, understanding heroic quality and we need them, sometimes we need government to help people and that, as bill clinton and barack obama have been saying, this election is about, are we in this together or is it every person for themselves in. >> this is just to echo the first thing jonathan said, if you flip it around, this is a major republican talking point and they have basis to make this argument. why do you want to re-elect barack obama if they couldn't work across the aisle for four
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years. suddenly that talking point that argument gets stopped in its tracks by the pictures of barack obama and governor christie. and on top of that, you have him in the speech, just now, in wisconsin, going back to what is always the most effective touch stone of barack obama's rhetoric, in a moment like this, there are no republicans or democrats. it's like there is no red america, no blue america. we are all americans today. they were powerful in 2004, in 2008. to come back home to that in the closing days of the campaign is very powerful for undecided voters. >> fire the guy who is saying that. >> he also said something in there, he said you know me by now. you may not have liked everything i did in the first four years but you know who i am which is a backhanded -- i won't say compliment -- a suggestion that mitt romney is a mysterious, unknown, intangible
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plu plutocrat with horses that dance and he's not someone that anyone knows and should not be trusted. >> to your point we come back to where we were in the narrative about mitt romney. he won't answer the question about fema. we see him running away from the questions. won't answer questions about the tax records. >> which the president reminded us. >> exactly. won't answer the question. on both sides we come back to kind of where we started with both of these men. can you trust the guy who is not going to give you answers, who is all over the map on the position or are you you going to trust the guy who, colin powell by the way, in case you forgot, gave a stellar endorsement to, who is efficient, got it done, and does understand what this is all about. >> he hasn't got continue done yet. >> but think about this in terms of the theory of government, fema has to have reserve of money ready to go before the storm, not after. that's part of what president obama did. part of the cuts that, as i understand it ryan wanted to make, no, you have to come to us after the storm hits to get the
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money. and this way they had the money, they had resources, able to put in place beforehand and that makes a tremendous difference in this situation. >> we will be talking about how the president has made reform, structural reforms to fema after the break. coming up, president obama, governor chris christie bro hug it out, official term, after the new jersey storm tour. how that is romney surrogacy working out? it's a new day. if you're a man with low testosterone, you should know that axiron is here. the only underarm treatment for low t. that's right, the one you apply to the underarm. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18. axiron can transfer to others through direct contact. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied
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christie has decided to play the role of a greek column today for president obama. chris christie's the only republican -- not just praising obama, i mean, it's -- it's -- let's put it this way, is it wrong for one man to love another man? but that man love out there, it's isolated in the state of new jersey. well, tell you what i've observed casually with my busy broadcast eyes. and my cochlear implant aided ears. >> some republicans aren't happy about the budding bromance between governor chris christie and president obama.
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yesterday thee adversaries tourd the different station left behind by hurricane sandy, erasing for the moment any hint of partisan ranker. >> at the top of my list, i have to say that governor christie, throughout his process, has been responsive. he's been aggressive in making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm. >> when i got on marine one, i'm pinching myself, believe me. sandy and christ christie's son believe it. >> who needs friends? it's true, richard. i mean, goodness. >> what's true? >> the -- >> heavens. >> i don't know that chris christie is acting the role of a greek column for president obama but images, we talked about bipartisanship in the earlier segment, but this cannot make the romney campaign happy. i will say, romney strategist
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quoted as saying governor christie's doing his job. he's governor of a state hit by a very, very horrific storm, there's tremendous damage, people have lost lives and he's doing exactly what he's supposed to be doing as governor of new jersey. the president is doing what he needs to do as president and this ises a case of the governor doing his job. i think that's it. >> a great strategist, work ford governor christie. he should become an ambassador in anyone's administration. >> seriously. >> if rush limbaugh wants to say those things go to new jersey and say them directly to chris christie's face. >> i want to see that play out. >> chris christie -- chris christie has done a number of different things here. first, he's been responding to the disaster full credit for him for doing that. but you know, just in terms of the crass politics of it he has in expressing for a start his sense of respect for being on marine one, that whole i've got to pinch myself, you know, we have not heard that, which is what normal people when they
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come up to a president. we have not heard from from republicans at all for the last four years. it's great to hear people have respect for the office and institution of the presidency, whatever their state of need, whatever their state's need. but or piece of is it, you know, the two pieces of the republican argument against the president is that he's out of his desk. chris christie saying that president is not out of it he's on it, he's there for me. yes, the bipartisan saying he promised to unite the country, he's failed to do so, it's not bromance. it's what elected officials when they're not campaigning, are supposed to be doing, serving the people. >> this is the kind of man love rush limbaugh's talking about. >> come here. >> this is the kind of being the adult in the room that we've heard obama talk about for a very long time with a lot of people from the left, even criticisming him when he said
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i'm ready to deal, i'm ready to talk, i'm here, i'm trying to be the grown-up and the republicans ran around and acted silly. to some degree, yes, when you need me, i am here, i will be here, i will get on the phone, lie make sure stuff is happening. and -- >> and it's clearly more centrist message which the president has repeated several times. i'm here to cut through bureaucracy, cut through red tape. that's usually a conservative message. he's say, you know, when it comes to getting rid of the bad things about big government, i'll be there with that. >> let me say something about surrogates, john. you wrote a profile on the vice president, and what's interesting, in this homestretch the campaign is afoot for the weekend. for the week the task of campaigning has been left to paul ryan and joe biden. >> and president clinton. >> right. >> but to surrogates, the notion the two guys running for the highest office in the land are not actively campaigning in the homestretch. jeb bush, i don't know if he was
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called by the romney campaign and asked to say something harsh about the president, but he certainly did not mince words yesterday in coral gables. let's take a listen to what he had to say. >> do you honestly think that this president is capable of bringing people together? his entire strategy is to blame others, starting with my brother, of course. basically, he blames every possible thing rather than having the humility to be able to reach out and to find common ground i thought that was, a, surprising from jeb bush, someone who is a republican, former republican governor, and certainly a surrogate for the romney campaign, but harsh words, especially given what the president was doing yesterday. >> yeah, i think that's true. and governor bush has not been the most hot eyed partisan among significant republican players in the past. this that is all hands on deck moment where surrogates are asked to do this kind of stuff.
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i thought the most unhelpful thing from the romney standpoint in that common, which not the harshness in terms of president obama you want to talk about george w. bush? that really for swing voters, undecided voters you want the image -- >> to remind them of hurricane katrina, bush? >> it's not effective surrogacy, apart -- forget about the harshness. >> romney was nastier to bush in the debate than obama was. >> by the way, jeb bush, the whole uniting at this time? jeb bush, maybe one of his -- >> craig fugate a republican would not work for george w. bush after katrina. but when obama called him he said yes because they were serious about professionalizing -- >> there's the door. >> two guys, governor bush and governor christie, both could run for flpresident in 2016, taking different approaches to the image they're putting forward in the last few days of
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the campaign. you know they both of them have been not totally sole on the notion that romney was going to win for most of the time. privately both -- >> is that what's happening? >> i think both of them are looking, to some extent, what comes next. i'm not saying they don't want governor romney to win this election but both skap ceptical his chances for a year and a half. governor christie, not taking anything away from -- i think he was genuinely star struck to be on marine one, but he needs to get re-elected. he has a tough re-election battle. you can't be on the wrong side of president obama in the disaster situation if you're going to win re-election in a blue state in a year from now when he has to run again. >> which, by the way -- >> the only way he can run in 2016 if is he wins again. politics are there. governor bush's politics are different. trying to get himself back into play after having been out for a long time, he's going to be a different hoe down for him and a
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different way to deal with republican base than the one that chris christie is in. different political paths. >> if mitt romney loses, karen, and there is already talk, reporting today, that top republicans are saying, we are not -- you know the party we know is basing an internal schism based on the tea party versus centrist wings are they going to take a shine, will there be a same amount of enthusiasm for chris christie if when it's all said and done we say, wow, obama won and part or the thing that helped him were optics, this moment that chris christie joined arms and said we're going to fix this together, work arm in arm, fist in glove. >> i think all along in the question for the republican party if you lose this one, which way do they go? do they double down and say the problem is we didn't have a real conservative, we need a true conservative, we've good to find that person, rick santorum type person and that's the problem which is absolutely not their problem, or will they get it and say if we have a condition who has to pretend he's not a
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raeving right winger to get elected in -- maybe that says something about your policies and ideas are not where the country is. maybe, you know, idea of cooperation shouldn't be a dirty word. >> maybe. >> maybe. >> maybe. but i -- >> i don't know. >> those overly optimistic. >> unfortunately, given what we've seen in washington where you have many good, moderate republicans who have been too cowardly to stand up to the tea partiers, i think it's more likely the right wing will win out. it's bad for the country. >> who knows. i guarantee you they'll nominate someone without a car elevator. >> you are resident of the tri-state area, a johnny come lately to the tri-state area. >> a ferner. >> 2016, governor andrew cuomo versus governor chris christie, what do you think about that? >> what do you think about them apples? >> an incredible race. governor cuomo taking a lead
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role. >> an amazing thing. they'd personally stamp doing opposition research against each other because they're both tough guys. but the likelihood it seems to me, that two people from contiguous states in northeast will end up as nominees of the parties seems look a low probability. >> i live in new jersey. >> sorry. >> state's been doing horribly. >> not insulted. >> sorry, john. >> i'm in the tri-state area, don't worry. new jersey's slipping. its economy's not doing bem christie was not a shoo-in before this. >> right. >> and it's not clear yet that he's going to get big props from voters for the way he handled this. he did well in the first few days but in my neighborhood people don't have any power. >> right. it's not over yet. >> if it takes weeks to get power back on, if there are other problems, then people are going to react harshly to chris christie. >> that tells you why the optics
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are so important. >> it might not help the president so much if on monday there's not some signs of a little bit of progress if people are getting angry and frustrated. >> karen finney is still stuck in hours of traffic. >> it's a huge parse for him. in a fluid situation you never know. >> goodness. let me just say, jonathan, to your point, it is not over. and this is a developing situation and it's very serious situation. and there are a lot of people in need and, again, the toll has been extraordinary. so, you know, we shouldn't try to tie this up with a bow when we talk about political optics. >> and it will be for a long time to come. >> many agree president obama benefits politically from his response to the storm, the big winner might just be fema. we'll look at agency's image boost just ahead.
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following president bush's katrina debacle, fema hasn't been on the tip of many republican tongues. but now, one of the gop's stars has nothing but praise for the maligned agency and the administration overseeing it. >> i have to say, the administration, the president himself, and fema administrator craig fugate have been outstanding with us so far. we have a great partnership with them. we're coordinating with fema, thank you mr. few gate for being here and the input he's had to make our operation better. >> we will examine fema's heck of a job next on "now." [ man ] ring ring... progresso this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. to start her own interior design business. she's got a growing list of clients
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remember this guy. >> >> brownfully, you're doing a heck of a job. >> michael brown, the disgraced former fema head, fired by george w. bush, after his
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disastrous handling of hurricane ka treen fla htrina had words o president obama. in an interview on monday, brown criticized the president's decision to visit fema headquarters on sunday, saying he should have waited until after it made landfall. quote, my guess is he wants to get ahead of it. he doesn't want anybody to accuse him of not being on top of it or not paying attention or playing politics. he probably could have had more impact doing it today. for the record, obama held press conferences sunday and monday. brown's words of wisdom prompted a kurt response by his successor, craig fugate. >> it's better to be fast than to be late. >> fugate and president obama received widespread praise of the transformation of the agency. obama campaigned four years ago on a promise to revamp the
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federal government's disaster response functions and has embraced changes sought by professional emergency managers. the overwhelming majority of americans agree. in a poll conducted tuesday night, 78% viewed the president's response to the storm positively, 8% held negative views. karen, you were talking about what the president's done and he's done a good job of managing fema, making not only the case for the federal government, but also for his role as someone that cuts through red tape. >> yeah. >> suffers no fools. it's interesting to me, with poll numbers out like that, 80% is a big number. >> yep. >> that's among independents, which is worth noting. republicans resorted to, i don't know what you call this. is it desperation or something worse? listen to what newt gingrich said on abc this week. >> notice, he's canceling his trips over the hurricane. he did not cancel his trips over benghazi. >> what? >> even brownie, right?
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default to benghazi. >> that's desperate. when we're in the middle of a crisis, you know you're losing. the other thing for president obama, what i would love to see coming out of this for democrats, let's reframe the conversation and instead of big government versus small government, what is efficient versus inefficient? this is efficient government ready to go when you need it. not the size -- the size isn't the issue. is it ready to go? that's what he's talked about when he talks about cutting inefficiencies, talked about that in a number of state of the union addresses, cutting through the red tape. that's a good mantra going into a second term. >> on benghazi, it amazes me the rest of the republican party didn't take a leap from romney who gave it up in the third debate. it's clear that benghazi is not a fireable offense for president obama. there was a lot of bureaucratic confusion, the cia has said their initial reports were contradictory, mixed messages.
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nobody did anything that was wrong that we've identified so far. by the way, in the larger scheme of things, iraq war, getting rid of hussein, 4,000 lives, tens of thousands of people maimed, not counting iraqi, libya getting rid of the dictator there. it's very sad that we lost our ambassador and some others. but look at the price this country paid iraq versus libya for getting rid of a dictate. >> to go back to the benghazi question, brownie saying one thing he's going to be asked, this is obama, why did he jump on this so quickly and go back to d.c. when in benghazi he went to las vegas? why was it so quick? somebody's going to ask the question. it's like the inverse of benghazi. a, who let michael brown out of the locker? what is he doing? >> there aren't enough arabian horses to keep him busy anymore. >> put him on the dressage horses if needed to. >> the sad thing is, there are
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important questions to ask about benghazi. but in trying to force it so heavily on the politics, this is going to get lost, right? there are complicated questions about diplomatic security, about the way we monitor these emerging threats in all of the arab spring countries. they're polluting the debate. >> right. >> they're straining. we've lost at least 72 americans because of the hurricane. in a public policy context, it's a far bigger deal that you want the president to be engaged with it. so a false equivalent. >> on benghazi, the republicans in congress voted against $300 million to beef up security in embassy. of course huge questions that this raises. the idea that somehow you know they dropped the ball when the republicans didn't even want more embassy security. >> condoleezza rice last week come out and say, this is how it goes, get information, put
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together a come poise the. response to benghazi, the investigation, to learn how long it takes, it's obvious that it's flooding, let's get rid of the water. get the people out. it's obvious, right? >> it's a curious parallel to what governor romney did when benghazi actually happened, which was the big mistake he made, and i think there are legitimate issues on policy and security, but the mistake at beginning there were dead people and he's decided to politicize the issue. that's the mistake he made in initial hours. now another situation, you have a hurricane, there are dead people, and these clowns rather than saying, look, we're in the middle of a crisis here, there's a natural disaster happening, let's not score cheap political points for 24 hours, bring up benghazi again in trying to score cheap political points when again at this moment there are dead people and people suffering, you know, it would be the better part of politics to step back, be bipartisan and be focused on the disaster as it's unfolding. >> you haven't talked about how
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romney had a photo op spent $5,000 at walmart to surround him with supplies. experts say don't send supplies, send money to the red cross. exactly the wrong message. trying to create a phony photo op. >> that's what it comes down to, look, i believe in a two-party system i think it's important. but where is the republican party headed? chris christie got the memo, you've got to have some long-term vision here. for them to come out, for gingrich to say that, on fox charles kraut hammer said the same thing. this is about america in a time of need. it is so opportunistic and shamelessly transparent. >> it's bad politics. >> i agree with you on the substance, it's bad politics. you don't look good doing this. >> alex, a lot of us felt that way when president obama first became president. we were in the middle of a crisis. we were in the middle of something we had never been
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through before. it was obvious they were attacking president obama for the sake of it. there was a moment where people said, can we just get something done? and then we went back to our corners and it became partisan. ee again it's interesting to where we came back to where we started. can you put aside your blind hatred of barack obama for two seconds and let's help some folks who really need it. >> look -- >> yes. we're all in agreement. >> who wants to rise to opposition? >> cheap partisan shot. >> i thought i heard you trying to make a comment but i turned to you and you said nothing. >> the end of the romney campaign is about saying the president's gone small. actually what we're seeing is, the republican party going small as the president gets bigger and more presidential. you know, if they want to make a bigger case, now's the time to make it. benghazi's taking it smaller and smaller. >> that, i think, we're going to have to leave it there, my
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friend. >> incredible shrinking point. >> when you go big, you drill down to the essence of the issue. like finding a mine of gold and ore, something. >> the essence of social contract. do we owe things to each other or not? and this is a very deep, big question that we expect the 20th century arguing about and we still are. >> taking it big. >> back on. >> lead the way, baby. >> john, richard, karen, that was really bringing it back home. programming note. tomorrow night on msnbc at 8:00 p.m., nbc holding a telethon for hurricane sandy victim. a special concert with bruce springsteen and billy joel. that's all for now. see you tomorrow noon eastern, when i'm joined by karen finney. plus, frank bruni, ben white, and the tag team of norm orrinstein and thomas mann.
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find us facebook.com/nowwithalex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] don't just reject convention. drown it out. introducing the all-new 2013 lexus ls f sport. an entirely new pursuit.
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," the crimingr sets. >> you feel you're going to wake up any minute. it's sickening, sad. >> two, three hours. >> we need the gas. we have to see the president. >> we need more food. we need more resources. anyone who is listening to this in the city of hoboken or neighboring towns who can get to us, we ask you to come and deliver your supplies. >> in wisconsin, president obama returned to the campaign trail. >> hello, wisconsin! in the closing weeks of this campaign, governor romney has been using all of his talents

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